Bootleg Mountain P300 RS
Rough BM P500 RS
Pluto RS
Uranus P300 RS
Sugarloaf Mountain P500 RS

Wed, Dec 15, 2021

With: Eric Smith
Iris Ma
Tom Grundy

Etymology
Sugarloaf Mountain
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX

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Iris had a 9a flight to catch out of Las Vegas, but we managed to talk her into a sunrise hike before Tom had to drive her to the airport. Afterwards, the rest of us went off to do some more peakbagging. All of the day's peaks can be found in Purcell's Rambles & Scrambles.

Bootleg Peak

This summit lies in the River Mountains that separate Henderson from Boulder City. The area is part of the Bootleg Canyon Mountain Bike Park, a really first-rate facility with many miles of excellent trails. We drove up the unpaved, but well-graded Bootleg Canyon Rd (any vehicle can drive it), then left on an unsigned spur road (high-clearance) to get within a third of a mile on the northeast side of the summit. The spur road saves only another 1/3 mile. The slopes are steep but all class 2. There are a number of bike trails in the immediate area, but none of these offer any real help getting to the summit. Starting before sunrise, it took us about 20min to make our way to the top. We were treated to a fine sunrise, first light appearing on Potosi Mtn to the west across Las Vegas Valley. A register had been left by Kevin Humes before 2018, with a half dozen entries following. I hung about the summit for about 10min before I got too cold, heading down a few minutes before the others. After returning to the Jeep, we drove the remaining distance up Bootleg Canyon Rd for a visit to nearby Red Mtn. I had been to this one previously, so I stayed back in the Jeep while the others hiked the quarter mile distance up the gated road, signed for No Trespassing. I was a little worried that this might be cutting it close for Iris' airplane departure, but she didn't seem concerned. Tom would get her to the airport in time, so all was good.

Rough BM - Pluto - Uranus

Eric and I waited in Boulder City for Tom to run his errand, Tom returning about an hour later. We left their vehicles in town and took the Jeep out to Lakeview Point north of Hoover Dam. These three summits are found sandwiched between Interstate 11 and the Historic Railroad Hiking Trail. The latter follows the path of the spur rail line that brought supplies for the building of the Hoover Dam from the Nevada side. The peaks are all dark vocanic in nature - decent scrambling, but not the best the area has to offer. Others have reported the SE slopes of Rough BM from the overlook to be steep, loose and somewhat dangerous, though we didn't find it such. We spent about 30min on the ascent, views overlooking Lake Mead. There's little Wilderness feel to this one, with noise from the ever-present Interstate a constant hum whether visible or not.

The traverse to Pluto was the most interesting section of the hike, as we stayed pretty much on the connecting ridgeline with a 400-foot drop to a saddle where several tranmission lines run across. The class 3 scrambling wasn't classic, but was still fun, and we spent about 50min getting between the two. The continuing traverse to Uranus is easier, both shorter and less elevation loss, taking about 25min from Pluto. From Uranus, we backtracked a short distance to the high saddle with Pluto, then dropped northwest down class 2 slopes to the Railroad Trail. We followed this back through four of the five tunnels (the last tunnel goes under Lakeview Point), then scrambling up the left side of the trail on steep terrain to return to the overlook - about 3hrs for the roundtrip effort.

Sugarloaf Mountain

This last summit lies on the AZ side, just south of Hoover Dam. Interstate 11 goes around the east side of the peak, getting close, but there is no access from the Interstate. The closest access point is from the Kingman Wash exit, on the west side of the highway at a large parking area. The old US95 is gated and signed for No Trespassing, so we didn't try walking this abandoned road since it's so close to the interstate and observation. Instead, we used an older road below this, unsigned but a bit rough with many rocks dumped in the roadway, presumeably to make using it harder. This saves a lot of elevation loss one encounters if using Candace Skalet's GPX track. The old road ends just before crossing a wash, after which it becomes a class 2 climb via the east slopes to the summit, passing a couple of sewage disposal ponds along the way. Again, no Wilderness feel here, as one is never far from the highway. We spent about 45min to reach the summit where there is a really nice view of the Hoover Dam, Bridge, and Visitor Center. This is really rugged territory and the steep folds in the surrounding mountains are quite impressive. It was around 3p by the time we finished up back at the Jeep and decided to call it a day. We would go back to Boulder City for dinner and to spend the night once again on the open desert grounds south of town...

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